Choosing a college major is one of the biggest decisions a young adult can make. Choosing a course of study will influence career options and quality of living later in life. There are many ways that people choose college majors.
Some people choose based on the class they enjoyed the most in high school or what they enjoy studying on their free time...These methods may provide short-term fulfillment, but your career options may not account for what you actually enjoy spending time on in your life. It is better to choose a major based on your future career options rather than what you enjoy studying.
This sounds like an obvious statement, but I find it surprisingly hard to follow. As a student, I am passionate about studying literature. I love reading through Austen, Hawthorne, and the works of other famous literary figures. I was always open to career options in the English field; when people asked what I wanted to do with my degree, I said editing or publishing. It was a vague filler answer because I didn’t have a clear plan.
As I began researching in depth what these careers would entail, I felt unhappy with my choices. I eventually disregarded editing and publishing and decided to investigate creative or scholarly writing. I figured that if I was a professor then I could publish creative literature and scholarly articles on topics that I am passionate about. This idea also didn’t make the cut because I do not want to be a professor. Regardless of how many times I was published, educating students would be my main job.
After I eliminated every career option that I did not think would fully fulfill me, my situation became apparent: I chose my major based on what I loved to study. Granted, I had researched English career options, but I had not truly considered if I would be passionate about any of the careers. With a career focused mentality, I used my school’s career preparedness resources and narrowed down my list of interests. With this information, I researched careers.
My new major is behavioral health science. Although I love studying English more than I enjoy studying psychology, I will be more passionate about a career as a child psychologist than I would be about a career as a professor. I can still write on the side, but now I will have a job that I enjoy in addition to writing creatively.
Of course, students should enjoy what they study, but that should not be the main decision factor. Students should research specific careers and look at job postings to see what common degree requirements are for those careers. If you feel uneasy about your current degree choice, allow yourself to be curious about the feeling. Maybe there is a different path that you are meant to follow.